Mark Teixeira is a star.
He is 27 years old, hits for power, hits for average, fields like the gold glover he is. He has no noticeable character flaws and says all the right things. Most would look at all of these facts and see him as a franchise cornerstone, the type of guy to hang on to for preferably his entire career.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Why? The exact reasons for which he is so desirable.
Tex will be a free agent after the 08 season. He is represented by the baseball Antichrist, Scott Boras-and if anyone believes he will settle for a contract under 9 figures, I will personally guarantee that naivety is one of their primary character traits.
However, for some the question lingers. Tex is a home-grown player, the only significant player of that variety the organization has produced since Juan Gonzalez in the late 80s. His developement is a testament to scouting department, the minor league staff, the GM himself-for that matter, the entirety of the Texas front office. Dallas is not a small market, and Tom Hicks has in the past shown himself very capable of doling out the cash for an asset (And some considerably less valuable-see Chan Ho, Juan Gonzalez signing #2). This case is different, however, in several ways: Firstly, the team was for the most part bidding against themselves. In addition, these were two mercenaries; players out for nothing but the money. Teixeira stands to collect an enormous payday, but he has stated without end his desire to win as a major factor in his ultimate destination.
For this reason, then, doubts arise about the Rangers' ability to retain him. And with the team struggles during this awful season, cries have rung out from far and wide, imploring Rangers GM Jon Daniels to get a deal done.
The longer the team holds on to Tex, the more his value will diminish. A little more than a year ago, a straight up deal for Jake Peavy probably would have worked. Now, nobody expects as much as a #2 starter in return-nor do they want one. The state of the team is deplorable enough that most fans are actually clamoring for the club to go on rebuilding mode; deal anyone and everyone who has no future with the club, get a solid crop of youngsters to augment an extremely thin minor league system, and wait for the future.
Who are the probable suitors for the superstar first baseman? Allow me to rank them in order of probability, according to my humble speculation.
#1: Yankees. The team whose farm system was the laughingstock of the MLB has made great gains in that area throughout the last year, combining good drafting with good trades to accumulate a very deep, not to mention top-heavy group of youngsters. In addition, we all know the drama revolving around Jason Giambi; and even if he were to remain with the club he is more fit for a DH role much like David Ortiz plays in Boston. We all know about George Steinbrenner's financial flexibility, as well as his relationship with aforementioned baseball antichrist. A package that might work would send highly touted right fielder Jose Tabata and righty Humberto Sanchez. I also have an interesting idea which would help alleviate the Yankees' pitching woes, but that's for another day.
#2: Los Angeles Dodgers. Their first base situation is a mess- They've been playing a combination of the awful Olmaedo Saenz, the shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, and the second baseman Jeff Ken at the position. While the latter two are good players, neither is a natural first baseman. The Dodgers are badly lacking in power hitters, and have a plethora of young players to deal from. A Scott Elbert+Jonathan Broxton package would be optimal, although I'm not sure if the Dodgers would bite. If they don't perhaps James Loney could take the place of one of them.
#3: Baltimore Orioles: The superstar hails from the area and has displayed interest in returning, stating that it is somewhere he'd be delighted to play. Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff make up a highly overrated duo of first basemen, they are by no means a permanent solution. Brandon Erbe and Nick Markakis would get the job done here.
#4:Anaheim Angels. Yes, I failed to refer to them as the Los Angeles California Angels from Heaven not hell commanded by God almighty who is non denominational of Anaheim USA. They are in a similar situation to the Dodgers: They need a big bat, are major contenders in a division without a great team, and have many prospects to barter. I'd look at a deal of Nick Adenhart and the Angels' current first baseman, Casey Kotchman- a solid, but not spectacular player. The impediment here is the fact that the Angels rip Texas to shreds as is, and adding another weapon to the division leader would cause much consternation within the Ranger front office.
#5: Boston Red Sox. I'm surprised at the amount of people who have brought this team up as the likeliest trade partner. I'd say the Sox are a long shot at best, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there's that little issue where Tex feels he was treated badly by the Red Sox when they drafted him in '98. It's said he harbors a minor grudge against the organization. In addition... Boston has a top notch first baseman in Kevin Youkilis already, who they retain at far cheaper. However, if for some odd reason the Sox were intent on picking him up, the most logical package would include Jacob Ellsburry and Jon Lester.
Well, those are the top 5 candidates in my estimation. I hope you enjoyed the first piece and decide to frequent my blog in the future!